BENGALURU: Though it is generally said Athiti Devo Bhava (Guest is equivalent to God), the phrase is seen to be taken for granted with the menace of counterfeit currency growing at an alarming pace. People who travel overseas fall prey to this threat. Hence, applications like ‘Chkfake’ can come to the rescue for international travellers who could possibly be tricked by fake currency notes.
Tanmay Jaswal, founder and director of Chkfake, says, “I have had an opportunity to look at the industry when I was heading the brand detection setup at Shell. I got to observe how consumers struggle to understand the difference between genuine and counterfeit products and how a company can help them identify the real products. So, the motivation to start Chkfake was to help consumers understand the genuine products across different categories.”
To start with, the team decided to have the category currency as it is something that everyone interacts with. “Even during demonetisation, there was news that new currency notes are being counterfeited. There was over 480 per cent jump in suspicious transactions. Among the most recent shocking incidents, was the one where a United Bank of India ATM in Bareilly dispensed fake notes. So, we wanted to put the information out there about how people can spot fake notes. We have ten major currencies, including dollars, pounds and yen, listed on our platform that covers 75 per cent of the global economy,” he says adding that it’s mostly the travellers who get tricked into fake currency.
“Since they are not aware of the currency of the place they are travelling to, they do not realise that the bills they have are not genuine until much later when they are maybe doing a transaction.” So how does the platform work? A user can download and open the free app available on iOS and Android and search for the product he would like to verify.
The platform is not limited to currency. “We are regularly adding new brands and categories such as apparels, electronics and medicines. We would like to be a one-stop solution for consumers where they can verify any product. Currently, we have products across eight categories,” he says. As the concept of the startup is something new in the market, he says, it is a bit challenging to reach people. The company started in August 2015 and launched its app in February 2018.
“It took us some time as we had to sort out the product development, incorporating a different technology and we had to do several alterations to the product to make it user-friendly. As this is something new, there is no commercially available resources or research,” he adds. At present, the team go to the market to check the security features available. “We have an in-house team of designers too who can translate the information from the market onto our platform,” he adds.
Chkfake is now planning to add brand owners on the platform who can list their security features on the platform so that the consumers can verify them. “We are also working with industry association and government departments for consumer rights,” he concludes.